It’s week four and here I am in Barbados at Royal Westmoreland. It is warm and sunny, with a bit of breeze!
I arrived late on Monday, and was on the excellent practice ground on Tuesday, trying to remember all the important points drilled into me by Steve and James over the past three weeks.
I warmed up first with the dynamic exercises, and then hit six or seven practice shots, just swinging without too much emphasis on the actual shot. I then started hitting some 7-irons, going through the pre-shot process and set-up on each shot. I began switching clubs without hitting too many balls with each, and trying not to worry too much about a bad shot, this is completely different to my old practice regime.
After about 35 minutes I switched to the short game, hitting a number of chips from 30, 50 and 70 yards in order to get a better feel for distance control. I still maintained the strict set-up process for each shot.
I finished with a long putting session using my new Dave Whitlam custom-made putter. I made sure that my eyes were directly above the ball, which was set a little further back than I was used to. The course marshal Andy was intrigued by the new putter, and came across to assist me in ensuring I was lined up correctly for each putt. My new putter feels incredible, and for the first time I am getting disappointed at missing a putt, as opposed to hitting and hoping.
I played 18 holes on Thursday with my good friend Nigel Lynall, who plays off of 14. The course here is designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr, a brilliant design but difficult, as confirmed by seniors such as Sam Torrance, who played here last March in the European Seniors. Ian Woosnam lives here, and is making his Seniors debut at the Championship on 5th March.
I felt I played reasonably well considering it was my first game since the lessons began and putted with great confidence. My Chipping was OKish as well. I finished with an 87, 15 over with a couple of bad holes spoiling the card. Nigel won 2 & 1, but I have a chance of revenge on Monday when we play another good local course at Sandy Lane.
I’m feeling much more confident about my game generally. Well-done lads!